Istanbul Modern

So we went sailing around on this ship for a couple of weeks. The Management is the one who enjoys cruises. I enjoy the evening meals, especially if I can get dressed up on a formal night. But the main thing I enjoy are the port stops if there is an opportunity to visit a decent art gallery. (Went to one in Sebastopol which had 7000 paintings according to our info. They didn’t mention that 6900 were in storage somewhere!)

We went to Istanbul twice on the cruise, and on the second visit I managed to get to see the Istanbul Modern. An excellent gallery if you’re in that neck of the woods! ‘Unfortunately’ we only had a fairly short visit as we were meeting up with friends for lunch in the art deco Orient Express Restaurant at Istanbul Railway Station. (It is the eastern terminus of the Orient Express, which was due in at 5 pm on the day we were there. We had to be back on the ship at 5 pm so didn’t get to see it!)

Anyway, back at the Istanbul Modern, they had a ‘no photography’ policy. This was a shame as I want to tell you about some of the techniques used by the artists whose work I saw. I would have liked to have illustrated this with close ups of parts of the works. In the shop they had a postcard of just one of the works I had written notes about. I have found some illustrations on the website but these only show the overall work whereas I wanted to show details.

In the first section I went in there were several textile/mixed media pieces. The first by Ghada Amer, an Egyptian artist, used embroidery on the painted canvas , with loose threads hanging down. The stitching formed the outlines of the figures shown. Michael Raedecker also used sewn thread to delineate lines. (Is that a tautology?) This is an illustration of a similar work by this Dutch artist.

Pae White, an American, had a work called Northern Smoke which “interweaves modern digital technology with the ancient art of tapestry.” It was only when you were up close that it was seen to be a textile. I’ve found the same piece on the interweb thingy when it was in the Whitney.


The final textile I want to mention was by Sabire Susaz Kutahya. Unfortunately I can’t find any links to share with you, but the work consisted of clothing labels pinned to fabric. Each label made a pixel of a picture of a shark. A lot of labels, a lot of pinning and a lot of work! But a pleasing result at the end of it.

Round the corner from these textile pieces was a painting by Burcu Perçin who had a superb sense of perspective. I’d assumed from the subject matter – an abandoned industrial building – that the artist was male but Mr Google has shown me the error of my ways. Again, I can’t show you the exact work that was on display, but this piece was very similar:


As I said we were only in the gallery for a short time, but I’m only going to mention the work of one other artist for the moment. I’m going to have to do a Part 2 for this. The artist is Tony Cragg, a British sculptor, whose piece Ugly Faces was far from being ugly, looking like a stack of smoothed pebbles. This was one work I was able to find on Istanbul Modern’s own site, which says that ” the sculpture, Ugly Faces, marks the beginning of a new direction for Cragg as he incorporates into his work the idea of cell fission and regeneration around a central axis.” Whatever! Heeding Arthur Schopenhauer’s words, I let the piece speak to me and it didn’t say anything about cell fission!



About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website
This entry was posted in Art, Art Gallery, Artists, exhibition, Painting, Sculpture, textiles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Istanbul Modern

  1. anne farmer says:

    Yes, I suppose ‘delineating lines’ is tautology. Clever of you to spot it though – don’t know if anyone else would!

  2. starrybird says:

    What a great mixture. I love the textures. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. This sounds like such an excellent adventure. To travel by cruise ship and stop in different ports, visiting art galleries? Yes, please! Your descriptions of the works make me want to see them in person all the more.

  4. The Management is the real cruiser. I much prefer city holidays (which are often to places far inland) but always try to check out any art galleries when I can. Last summer we sailed up to Norway. The two things I remember about Bergen are the rain and the art gallery.

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